Karting in Darwin has a long and illustrious history with events once taking place on the Darwin RAAF base.
The club was founded sometime before Cyclone Tracy with 1970s Darwin Speedway identity Barry Porter serving as a founding member and one of the club's first presidents.
In 1976 Darwin Karting Association (DKA) was incorporated and has been an integral part of the Darwin Motorsports scene for well over 40 years. As they always do, politics in Canberra intervened. In April 1976 the club were asked to leave the RAAF base, leaving the 1976 and 1977 go-kart seasons in turmoil and the club without a home. In the 1977 layoff a new track was built at the decommissioned WWII airstrip at 19 mile, Noonamah.
By the start of the 1978 season the club was left with 10 members and only 8 competitors with the club looking for new and innovative ways to attract members. The biggest hurdle in attracting new members was convincing people that go-karts were engine powered machines and not motor-less billy karts. The club were able to demonstrate their karts at two meets held during Speedway events at the Bagot Park Speedway (as well as later demonstrations through the Casuarina Shopping Centre carpark) which saw membership increase to 50 by the end of the season.
To make up for lost-time the first season held at 19-mile, was held over a mammoth 22 rounds, with the girls taking out much of the honours.
A1 Grade 100-130cc
1st Wendy Lomax
2nd Pauline Tull
3rd Bruce Duffield
A2 Grade 100cc
1st Eric Dalzell
2nd Des Hutchinson
3rd Steve Fazer
B grade Industrial Motors
1st Jodi Fricker
2nd Christopher Baker
3rd Stanley Dalzell
Sometime around 1979 unexploded ordnances and ammunition was found around the track once again forcing the club to look for a new home. At this time the Darwin Motorsports Council (DMC) was formed.
DMC put a proposal to the NT Government for a motorsport complex at Hidden Valley. The NT Government was keen to move the speedway from Bagot Park. Grants were provided to build the kart track, drag strip and eventually the full race circuit. Circa 1980 DKA engaged company 'Gutteridge Haskins & Davies’ to design and project manage construction of the track at Hidden Valley.
In early 1983 the 480 metre ‘international standard’ track was completed at cost of $83000 with a 400-metre extension planned for the coming years.
In these early years the club held their meets from 1pm to 5pm every other Sunday during the dry season.
The track has been extended and upgraded several times since.
These days events are held under lights on Saturday evenings in the hotter parts of the year and Sunday mornings during the middle of the dry season.
Our track is now 1,053 metres in length and has various configurations with race meets occurring both clockwise and counter clockwise.
Several major events have been hosted at the track including the 2012 Australian Sprint Kart Championships.
The annual Northern Territory Kart Championships held in July often sees many of the Australia’s top kart drivers make the journey north to escape the cold.
References and acknowledgements:
Former DKA secretary – Ian Edwards
Darwin Motorsports Complex Opening Day – The NT News – 11/5/1984
Hidden Valley Motorsports Complex 10th Birthday Celebration 14/10/1989 Souvenir Programme
Territory Motorsports Magazine – Vol1 No1 February 1979
Territory Motorsports Magazine – Vol1 No2 June 1979